Mar 1, 2013
Gearing Up for a Hot Career
Demands for area machinists continue to create high-tech opportunities for skilled workers.
As a single mother with two young children, Erin Wyngaard knew going back to school at age 34 would be a struggle. Discovering that she was the only woman enrolled in Fox Valley Technical College’s Machine Tool Technician
program didn’t discourage her either. “I’ve always been mechanically inclined and like working with my hands,” she says. “However, the real reason for choosing this program had a lot more to do with its career outlook.”
Wyngaard is familiar with manufacturing from having previously worked on an assembly line at a plastic extrusion plant. “When I decided to go back to work full-time, I started applying for similar positions,” she recalls. “I soon discovered that there were only a few of those jobs available, and for every opening there were hundreds of applicants.”
During this same process of looking for a job, Wyngaard also noticed that there were many openings for individuals who could operate Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining equipment. “I then discovered I could get the training I needed at Fox Valley Technical College,” she says.
While Wyngaard’s attitude is inspiring, the Neenah resident admits it was not all smooth sailing. “I struggled a bit at first, but my instructor, Kelly Curran, encouraged me to continue,” she recalls. “Fox Valley Tech’s hands-on curriculum has been the key to my success.”
Wyngaard plans to graduate this May, but even more exciting is that she was hired as a full-time machinist for Custom Marine, Inc. in Neenah, a worldwide manufacturer of tailpipes and exhaust systems for the boating industry. Later, Wyngaard may look to FVTC for more skills in either robotics or welding.
Snapshot of Success
Fox Valley Technical College’s Machine Tool Technician program added course offerings for the summer of 2013 to help meet area demands for skilled machinists. The most recent TechConnect data revealed more than 200 jobs for these professionals in the region.
Average grad placement rate: 97%
Source: 2011 & 2012 FVTC Graduate Employment Research Reports